Bacterial quorum sensing (QS) is a cell-to-cell communication phenomenon that allows bacteria to control the expression of certain specialized genes depending on their cell population size. Signaling molecules such N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) mediate the communication, and their concentration reflects the bacterial population density. Quorum sensing regulates several processes including bacterial pathogenicity. We developed a method for the rapid, sensitive, and quantitative detection of AHLs in biological samples such as saliva and stools. The method is based on whole-cell sensing systems that employ QS regulatory systems as recognition elements and the luxCDABE gene cassette as a reporter. The method proved to be reproducible when applied to real samples and was able to detect low analyte concentrations down to 1 × 10-9 M without requiring extensive sample preparation. We envision that this novel biosensing system could be employed in the diagnosis and management of various bacteria-related disorders, thus supporting the use of quorum sensing molecules as potential biomarkers of disease. Due to cost-effectiveness and high throughput, these biosensing systems could be successfully employed as a new tool for the screening of novel drugs that target quorum sensing mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry